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Are you covered if your dog behaves badly?

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

A man is high fiving his Dalmatian
Image Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

This great article from helps illustrate the need for homeowners and renters to have an additional policy to cover liability and damages due to pets- especially, for potential dog bites or injuries.

Many people don't think about such issues- or feel they will be too expensive- but the reality is that for some forethought and very little additional cost you can be spared horrific heartbreak and financial culpability when and if your pet does damage or hurts a person or another animal.

Having a policy like this indicates that you are a conscientious and responsible pet owner who has already planned ahead for such matters- which especially in the moment, can really help you cope with managing the issue if something happens.

No one wants to worry about their liability or expenses after an incident has occurred, when your potential culpability could open you up to a lawsuit.

It is also important that you, as a responsible guardian, realistically assess and manage your pet's potential shortcomings.

If your dog has had an incident, it is on you to ensure that no more incidents occur, at all costs. You cannot allow your pet to be put in a situation where they could fail ever again- or it truly could be worth their life.

If you have had an incident, it is critical you contact a behaviorist- not just a dog trainer.

Many dog trainers are ill equipped or downright naive when it comes to managing issues of aggression. Sadly, most people who train dogs are NOT aware or experienced with true behavior issues and only know how to work on obedience or skills- not the root of actual behavior issues.

You need to seek someone that has experience with behavior modification and rehabilitation- and you need to do the work.

You will need to invest yourself in learning how to manage your pet's issues safely- so they do not occur again- which is priority to "fixing" the problem. Fixing the problem comes after you understand the issue at hand and how to keep others safe.

Surrendering may be a knee jerk response- but there are some issues that can't and shouldn't be passed along.

The reality is few will jump to take your aggressive dog off your hands, because they are even more of a liability to another than they are to you.

At least you know your pet's good side and you have a bond with them that no one else has. This bond can literally be worth your pet's life- and may be the difference between them surviving an incident or not.

Many people need to learn how to become their own pet's rescuer- just as we as rescuers, learned how to do what we did through time and experience. We are not magic and we were not born this too can very likely rescue your own pet if you are as determined as we once were to ensure things worked out positively and safely for all.

We see all kinds of incidents, but more often than not it is not the animal themselves, rather the person, who is at fault.

Too many owners put their pets in situations over and over again where they are destined to fail because they refuse to see the responsibility is entirely theirs to manage.

This is true when things are as simple as their dogs getting out of the house, or getting too excited when an visitor shows up and they feel like they have tried "everything" to help their dog...when the only thing they haven't tried is to change their behavior, management and expectations of the matter at hand.

They do the same thing and expect different results...and when your pet's life is at stake- or the safety and security of others from your pet- that just won't do.

Please contact your insurance agent to discuss the minimal cost involved in adding a pet rider to your policy- especially if you have one of the "dangerous"/ banned breeds (as determined by the breeds commonly listed in dog bite studies and most apartment complexes).


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